Ashoka University Counsellors’ Meet

Participant: Dr. Preeti Jain& Ms. Poonam Sharma 

A counsellors’ meet was organized at Ashoka University, attended by approximately 150-200 counselors from Delhi and the NCR.

After the campus tour, the session began with a gracious welcome from the Pro Vice Chancellor, Ms. Rama Malik, followed by a keynote address from the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Somak Raychaudhary.

Ms. Malik highlighted their outreach to over 1300 schools, emphasizing their commitment to embracing diversity and fostering inclusion. Their dedication to the holistic development of students is evident through their expansive campus spanning over 100 acres. With a strong focus on research, they recognize the pivotal role of counselors as enablers and partners in the growth and development of students.

Professor Somak emphasized that Ashoka University stands out as a distinctive institution, adhering to the four-year degree structure outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP). 

According to him,approx. 63% of students opt to continue into the fourth year, dedicated to research endeavours. Undergraduate curriculum encompasses foundation courses, major courses (including interdisciplinary majors), minors, and cocurricular activities. Unlike many private universities, Ashoka boasts support from a diverse group of 220 donors and founders, with two alumni recently joining their ranks. Prioritizing a broad educational experience, Ashoka aligns closely with the NEP’s objectives. Presently, the university hosts 160 students enrolled in PhD programs. While engineering is not offered, Ashoka provides degrees in computer science, exposing students to concepts in data and machine learning. Economics, computer science, and psychology rank among their top three courses. Biology is offered as a pure sciences degree, with computer science as a major and biology as a minor being a popular combination.

 

Session 1 -Inside Ashoka’s classroom: Ashoka Professors on the University’s unique Pedagogy

Moderator

Damini Jain

Panelist

Gautam Menon

Dean Research and Professor of Physics and Biology

Kanika Mahajan

Associate Professor of Economics

Debayan Gupta

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Sramana Majumdar

Assistant Professor of Psychology

The panelists stressed the combined study of Physics and Biology, which offers an interdisciplinary perspective to comprehend various concepts. Climate change, for instance, is elucidated through an exploration of both the physical and biological processes at play.

Economics and Finance are taught as a core combination and are often paired with disciplines such as Computer Science, History, Political Science, or Psychology.

Students receive hands-on experience through internships at various companies.

Ashoka provides education in diverse combinations like Psychology and Law.

The teaching approach is rooted in evidence and research-based pedagogy.

Spaces dedicated to research, like those for social psychology, allow for the examination of issues like misinformation.

Student assessment methods include regular quizzes, five exams spaced throughout the year, paper presentations, engaging in class discussions, participating actively in class, taking open-book exams, and the provision of one cheat sheet during exams.

 

Session 2- My Experience at Ashoka

Prathana-Major Economics and Minor Computer Science

Ishaan Pershad – Major Physics and Minor Economics

Both alumni provided insights into their journey from school to Ashoka, highlighting various aspects. They discussed learning to embrace diverse perspectives, the process of relearning and unlearning certain concepts, gaining exposure to different spheres through internships, and the importance of activities outside the classroom, such as building communities. They specifically mentioned the Center for Creative Writing as a club that aids in academic paper writing. Time management emerged as a significant challenge, but the university supported them through the transition, providing resources and senior support. Additionally, they mentioned student-led societies like NEEV and POSITIVE and RUHI.

 Session 3: Panel Discussion

The Perfect Student Profile: Myth vs. Reality

Moderator: Zoya Qureshi, University Guidance Counsellor

Panelists:

Miguel Vazquez Gomez, Head College Counselling, Heritage Expedition Learning School, Gurugram

Tanushree, Head Career Guidance Centre, Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram

 Soma Dam, Vice Principal, Sun City School

  Shikha Vij, Career Counsellor, Step by Step 

 

A perfect student profile can vary, but it typically includes a mix of academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, leadership experiences, and community engagement. It’s important to recognize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Students should focus on showcasing their unique strengths and passions. Country preference and place are also important factors. One should highlight significant leadership skills and be passionate about their aspirations.

When applying, students should consider their focus and how much time they can dedicate to activities and engagement. Profile building should be done with a clear understanding of the duration, whether it’s for 3 or 4 years. Profiles should go beyond conceptual knowledge; they should be unique and not standardized. Universities should guide students on areas where they may be lacking and help them identify a link between internal and external motivation. Students should be driven by intrinsic motivation, connecting it with extrinsic factors. A profile should aim to pick students who will enrich the campus community, showing engagement, a willingness to learn and unlearn, and the ability to think independently.

 

Session 4: Panel Discussion

Exploring Different Facets of the Ashoka Journey 

 

Moderator: Vikram Bawa, Senior Director, Office of Outreach, Ashoka University

Panelists:

 Medica Prince, Director, Office of Admission, Ashoka University

 Maitri Das Gupta, Director, Global Education and Strategic Programmes (GESP),  Ashoka University

  Priyanka Chandok, Vice President, Career Development Office, Ashoka University.

 Reena Gupta, Director, Office of Learning Support, Ashoka University

   Dr. Arvinder J. Singh, Director, Ashoka Centre for Well-being, Ashoka University

 

Admissions:

The admissions panel plays a crucial role in selecting students who not only have strong academic records but also demonstrate a passion for learning, critical thinking, and diverse interests. They assess applicants based on their essays, recommendations, test scores, and extracurricular activities.

Placement:

The placement team assists students in securing internships and job opportunities both during and after their time at Ashoka. They organize career fairs, workshops, and networking events to connect students with potential employers and provide guidance on resume building, interview skills, and career exploration.

Academic Support:

Faculty members and academic advisors offer support to students throughout their academic journey. They provide guidance on course selection, research opportunities, and academic challenges, ensuring that students receive personalized attention and resources to excel in their studies.

Student Support Services:

Ashoka University offers various support services such as counselling, peer mentoring, and disability accommodations to ensure the well-being and success of all students. These services address both academic and personal needs, fostering a supportive and inclusive campus community.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

 Ashoka encourages students to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, student clubs, and social initiatives. These experiences not only enhance students’ personal and leadership skills but also contribute to their holistic development.

Ashoka University provides comprehensive support to students in various aspects of their academic, professional, and personal growth, ensuring that they have the tools and resources to succeed both during their time at the university and beyond.

The session concluded with a group photo followed by lunch.

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